How to sort fields and hide deleted ones when editing a DB/TextWorks version 16 textbase

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, August 02, 2017 12:05 PM

DBTextWorks version 16, released in July 2017, provides you with several great new features. This blog post is one of a series providing details of how to take advantage of these new features.

This blog post is about the changes to the textbase structure editor.

The Edit Textbase Structure > Edit Fields dialogue has two new features:

  • Sort Field List by – This feature permits you to sort the Field List by Field Name, or by Field Type.
  • Hide <Deleted> Fields – This option permits you to hide the <Deleted> items so they do not clutter up the display.

These small changes are super helpful for textbase designers. They appear in the Edit Textbase Structure > Edit fields dialogue as shown below.

Edit Fields

We usually start our databases with fields in a logical order, either alphabetic or in the case of a library catalogue, following the traditional ISBD / MARC order. But over time, fields may be added, renamed and deleted, making it hard to find one you want to work on. Previously, fields appeared in the order in which they were added in this editor, interspersed with the word Deleted for fields that have been deleted (although the field and its data is gone, an entry such as this remains in the list of fields).

These two new features, along with the larger size of this dialogue from the previous version of DB/TextWorks, makes textbase structure work that much easier. Sorting by name helps you find a known field, while sorting by type helps you work on a group of similar fields at once. Hiding Deleted fields declutters the interface so you can focus on only active fields.

Note that selecting a sort option or hiding deleted fields is a choice you need to make each time you open the field editor. It’s not saved between sessions.

If you decide you want to eliminate the Deleted fields altogether, rather than just hide them, you can recreate your database from scratch and re-import data, forms, etc. It’s not as daunting as it sounds, and Andornot would be happy to help you. This leaves a super clean database in great shape, for you, your current staff, and especially new staff who come on board.

See also our popular series of blog posts on “spring cleaning” for your textbases for more clean-up tips. And contact Andornot for a free assessment of your databases and suggestions to use them more efficiently or in new ways. We’d be happy to chat with you!

Inmagic Releases Version 16 of DB/TextWorks, WebPublisher PRO and DB/Text for SQL

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, July 31, 2017 8:39 AM

Inmagic has released version 16 of the very popular and long-standing DB/TextWorks database management system, and the companion WebPublisher PRO web search interface. Several new features, as well as issues fixed from previous releases, continue to make this software great value for our clients.

New features include:

  • Sorting – When specifying sort fields, you now have the option to sort empties last. Before, records where the sort field was empty could only be listed first or omitted. Since this option does not change the perceived number of records in the report, it is also available for the textbase Default Sort Order and for WebPublisher reports.
  • Form Designer – WebPublisher reports can now easily link from a small image on a web page (a thumbnail) to the full size image. The new option is on the HTML tab of the Picture Box Properties dialog box.
  • Adding/Editing Records – When editing a Link field, a new type of box permits you to browse the values in a field other than the Link field, making it easier to select the record you want to link to. For example, you can display the list of Borrower Names, and clicking a name will paste that user’s employee ID into the Link field box.
  • Select All (Ctrl+A) – This keyboard shortcut now behaves as it does in nearly every other product. You can use it to select all the text in a box, all the boxes on a form or screen, all the text in the Command Query window, or all the annotations on an image. In previous releases, Ctrl+A was used for Redo. Redo now uses Ctrl+Y. 
  • Edit Textbase Structure – The Edit Fields dialog box has two new features:
    • Sort Field List by – This feature permits you to sort the Field List by Field Name, or by Field Type.
    • Hide <Deleted> Fields – This option permits you to hide the <Deleted> items so they do not clutter up the display.
    • Note: Both are display-only features to make it easier to find and work with the fields you want to modify. Neither affects the actual field order specified in the structure.

Other issues addressed include:

  • Print Images – If a textbase has multiple Image fields, and you print only the images from a specific field, blank pages are no longer printed for any images specified in the other fields.
  • Report window – Addressed an issue with the records sometimes not being visible past the first page when you held down the mouse scroll wheel then dragged the mouse.
  • Send Report as Mail – Improved the handling of multiple email addresses when using the "Mail to addresses specified in records" feature.
  • Textbase Information – Addressed an issue where longer short date formats caused the year to be truncated in the "Current date" specified at the top of this display.
  • Toolbar icons – The icons for Vertical Tile and Horizontal Tile were backwards in previous releases. This issue has been corrected, and the options have been renamed to "Show Windows Side by Side" and "Show Windows Stacked" to make their behavior clearer.
  • Form Designer – Addressed an issue with the Box Properties dialog box crashing when a box included an extremely large Fixed Text or Added Text string (usually HTML).
  • Textbase Information – Removed Windows Group Memberships from Textbase Information and "About this Computer System".
  • WebPublisher Browse Choices – The buttons have been optimized; for example, we've added an "Add & Close" button so that users no longer need to click "Add" then "Close".

If you upgrade from a version prior to 15 directly to 16, be sure to read the instructions about the necessary upgrade to your textbases as well as the software. If you're already using version 15 or 15.5, you’ll have done this already.

Clients with a current Inmagic maintenance subscription will receive emails from advantage@inmagic.com with instructions for downloading this release. As always, contact Andornot with any questions about this new release, to check the status of your maintenance subscription, or for help upgrading.

VuFind 4.0 released with new features and fixes

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, July 17, 2017 7:48 AM

Version 4.0 of VuFind, the popular open-source discovery interface, was released early July 2017.

This version brings VuFind up to date with important PHP and Solr developments while also adding several new features and offering a straightforward upgrade path from the 2.x series of releases.

Some key additions and changes:

  • New channels feature. These are similar to the canned queries we include in almost all projects we work on, no matter which system, where pre-created search parameters or groups of records are offered to users through a simple link, as a guide to interesting aspects of the collection. See a demo at https://vufind.org/demo/Channels/Home.
  • New ability to create and host static content pages. This feature is especially welcome as in previous versions, additional content (e.g. About Us, Contact Us) was most easily placed on the home page, which could make for a bit of a crowded space.
  • Improved ability to load cover images from local files. We added this ourselves as custom development in a previous VuFind project, so are happy to see it appear in the core VuFind system.
  • A new theme, called Sandals. As with several previous themes, it's based on the responsive Bootstrap framework, so it works well on mobile devices. This new theme has a somewhat more modern look to it.

Additionally, several bug fixes, new configuration options and minor improvements have been incorporated.

Although VuFind was largely developed by and for academic libraries, we've found applications for it in other organizations, including smaller specialized libraries. Our blog has details of selected projects. In general, we recommend VuFind for organizations with purely bibliographic records and little or no need for customization, a custom graphic design, integration of other features or content, etc. For organizations with those requirements, our Andornot Discovery Interface is a perfect choice.

Contact us to learn more about the VuFind discovery interface and how it might suit your organization.

How to Import Data from Inmagic DB/TextWorks into Omeka

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, July 03, 2017 7:40 AM

Last week we published a blog post on our favourite Omeka plugins. This week we focus on one in particular, the CSV Import plugin. This plugin is included in every site hosted through Digital History Hub, our low-cost Omeka hosting platform.

One of Omeka's many strengths is the built-in data entry screens, based on Dublin Core fields. While there's a small learning curve to understanding DC, once mastered, it provides just the right set of metadata to describe anything you might want to put in an Omeka site, whether an artifact, photograph, document, map, etc.

But what if you already have a database of this sort of information and want to publish most or all of it in an Omeka site? Perhaps you're using the ever-popular Inmagic DB/TextWorks database management system, but don't yet have your records searchable online, or want to use Omeka's Exhibit Builder plug-in to mount an online virtual exhibit featuring a portion of your collection. Re-entering all that metadata into Omeka one record a time would be onerous. This is where the CSV Import plug-in comes in!

As the name implies, this plugin allows you to quickly import many records in a batch from a text file. You simply choose a suitable text file, map fields from your source into Omeka's Dublin Core schema, set a few other values and very quickly your records will be available in Omeka for review, further editing or simply ready for searching. The only main feature missing from this plugin is the ability to import PDFs, documents, photos and other media files that are saved locally on your computer or network. To bulk import these files, they need to be accessible on a web server with a URL to the file in your database. Note that this may not be as challenging to set up as you may think; there are always ways to work around issues like this, so don't hesitate to contact us for help.

Here's a step by step guide to using this plug-in with DB/TextWorks and Omeka. The procedure for exporting data from other databases will vary of course, but the principles remain the same. As always, do contact us for help !

Mapping Fields

Start by reviewing Omeka's Dublin Core fields on the Item entry screen and think about where data from your database should go. 

You may want to prepare a simple two column list mapping fields from your data source into the Dublin Core fields, like this:

DB/TextWorks Field Name Omeka Dublin Core Field Name
Title Title
Material Type Format
Author Creator
Corporate Author Creator
Publication Date Date
ISBN Identifier

etc.

You don't need to populate every Omeka DC field of course, just the ones that make sense for your data. And you can merge multiple fields from your database into one Dublin Core field in Omeka. To learn more about each DC field, read the brief note on the Omeka data entry screen, or visit http://dublincore.org/documents/dces/ for more detailed information.

Note that there is also a plugin called Dublin Core Extended Fields which adds even more fields. If you have a particularly complex database and feel the need to preserve and fully represent all or most fields, this might be for you. In our view, though, keeping things simple is better, and was precisely why DC was developed, to have a brief, common set of fields that could be used to describe almost anything.

Choosing Data to Export

When you get to the step of importing records into Omeka, you have the option of assigning one Item Type to all incoming records, and only one. The Item Type determines which additional metadata elements are available when editing the record. For example, the "Still Image" Item Type adds fields for Original Format and Physical Dimensions. If your source data contains information that is available in these extended fields and you wish to import it, or add it after by editing imported records in Omeka, you may wish to export records in groups by Item Type. E.g. all "still images", then all "Moving Images", etc. You can then import these in batches and specify the correct Item Type for each. The additional fields specific to that Item Type will then be available for import from your source data.

Exporting From DB/TextWorks

If your data contains special characters like accented letters or letters from outside the Latin alphabet, the file must be encoded as UTF-8 for Omeka to import it correctly. DB/TextWorks offers several text encoding options, so before exporting data, choose Tools > Options > Text Encoding and under "Output file encoding", choose the UTF-8 option (applies to v15.0 or later of DB/TextWorks).

To export a selection of records, search for them first, then select File > Export. 

Save the file somewhere handy, with a .txt or .csv extension. 

In the Export Options dialogue, make the following choices:

Export File Format: Delimited ASCII

Delimiter options:

Record Separator {CR}{LF}

Entry Separator |

Quote Character "

Field Separator , (only commas are supported for import)

Select the "Store Field Names in First Row" option

If any of your fields are of the type Rich Text, be sure to export those as HTML. That HTML can be preserved during the import to Omeka by selecting the HTML option for the field on Step 2 of the import (see below).

Records to Export: choose to export either the records you searched for with "Export Current Record Set" or the entire database with "Export Entire Textbase"

Fields to Export: select only those fields that you included in your field mapping

Optionally you can save these options as a profile for re-use again later.

Complete the export and note how many records were exported (so you can verify that the same number are imported into Omeka).

Importing Data into Omeka

With the export to a comma-separated text file complete, login to your Omeka site and select the CSV Import option in the menu. If that option isn't available, you'll need to install and activate this plugin first.

In Step 1 of the CSV Import, select your exported data file, then set the following options on this page:

If your database field names happen to be identical to those in Omeka and have “DublinCore” in their names (e.g. DublinCore:Title), you can select the Automap Column Names to Elements option. For all others (most of you!), deselect this option.

If importing different types of records in batches, select the Item Type appropriate to each batch.

Choose the following delimiters to match your export from DB/TextWorks:

Column Delimiter , (matches the Field Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

Tag Delimiter | (matches the Entry Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

File Delimiter | (matches the Entry Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

Element Delimiter | (matches the Entry Separator in the DB/TextWorks export)

Optionally, choose to assign all items to a Collection or make all items Public. 

If you're importing a large number of records, you probably don't want to Feature all of them, as it's more common to select a small set of Items to feature on the home page of Omeka.

Continue to the next step.

In Step 2, you will select the Omeka DC fields into which your data source fields will be imported, using your field mapping as a guide. 

Click the Use HTML checkbox if this data includes HTML markup (e.g. if it's a Rich Text Format field in DB/TextWorks and during export, you included that field and chose to export it as HTML).

For source fields which contain tags, select the Tags option instead of selecting a field to import the data to.

For source fields which contain URLs to files, select the Files option instead of selecting a field to import the data to. This will cause the import to fetch those files and add them to Omeka. Fetching many large files will take quite a while, so if this is your very first import, you might be best to try importing just a small data set with or even without this files option, to work out kinks in your whole procedure.

Reviewing Imported Data

If you imported a small number of records, you can review each one. If you imported a large number, you may wish to spot check a random sample, to make sure all the data ended up where you expected it, that records are public or not, featured or not, in a collection or not, etc.

If there are problems, the Undo Import feature is your new best friend. Find it back in the CSV Import plugin and use it to remove the records just imported.

Need Help?

Need help with any of this? Contact Andornot and we'll be glad to work with you on this.

 

 

Our Favourite Omeka Plugins

by Jonathan Jacobsen Tuesday, June 27, 2017 8:54 AM

At Andornot, we're big fans of the Omeka web publishing and content management platform, as a low cost, easy, simple way to get historic, cultural or other content online. Why, we've even launched a whole website dedicated to it: Digital History Hub !

One of Omeka's many strengths is the selection of plugins that add all sorts of extra features. By our count, there are over 90 of them. Most are listed here and here, but we've found a few others around the web too. Some of the plugins are older and not as actively supported as others, or serve only a very specific purpose, or are not of use to very many Omeka users.

We've reviewed and tried them almost all of them, though, and present here our most highly recommended ones. These are plugins that, in our view, should be added to almost every Omeka site as they are each so useful and so likely to appeal to a wide array of Omeka users. About half are helpful for Omeka site administrators, while the other half offer new features in the public side.

Learn more about each plugin by clicking its name here: http://omeka.org/add-ons/plugins/ and then the More Info link.

Plugin NameDescription and Andornot Comments
Admin Images Allows administrators to upload images not attached to items for use in carousels and simple pages. Very handy.
Bulk Metadata Editor Adds search and replace functionality, allowing administrators to update metadata fields over many records quickly and easily.
CSV Import Imports items, tags, and files from CSV files. Great when you have data in another database, such as Inmagic DB/TextWorks and don't want to re-key it into Omeka.
Derivative Images Recreate (or create) derivative images (e.g. thumbnails). Handy when the initial size set proves to be too large or too small for the selected theme. Saves re-uploading each image.
Exhibit Builder Build rich exhibits using Omeka. See jpl-presents.org for an Omeka site that uses exclusively exhibits to present content.
HTML5 Media Enables HTML5 for media files using MediaElement.js, to allow streaming playback. Great for sites with audio and video recordings.
Google Analytics A small plugin to include Google Analytics JavaScript code on pages. Everyone should want to know how much traffic their site gets!
Search By Metadata Allows administrators to configure metadata fields to link to items with same field value (e.g. click a Subject link to view all records with that same Subject).
Simple Contact Form Adds a simple contact form for users to contact the administrator. Be sure to configure the RECAPTCHA anti-spam feature too. Requires mail sending ability on the server, but a nice alternative to just listing an email address.
Simple Pages Allows administrators to create additional web pages for their public site. In our view, every site should have at least some sort of About page with more information about the site, who created it, etc.
Sitemap 2 This Omeka 2.0+ plugin provides a persistent url for a dynamically generated XML Sitemap, for SEO purposes. With this enabled, create a Google Webmaster account (and similar one in Bing) to feed your site into these search engines.
Social Bookmarking Uses AddThis to insert a customizable list of social bookmarking sites on each item page. Great for helping users share your items on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Google+, etc.

All of the plugins above are installed and ready to use in every site built through our Digital History Hub.

The next list of plugins below are those which we think are quite useful, on a case-by-case basis. We make them available in every Digital History Hub Omeka site, for the site owner to install, configure and use if it suits their needs, their data and their audience.

Plugin NameDescription and Andornot Comments
Commenting Allows commenting on Items, Collections, Exhibits, and more. Most useful for gathering feedback from other site administrators, in our view. Consider Disqus instead for public comments (Note: there is an older Disqus plugin, but it may need updating).
Contribution Allows collecting items from visitors. Great for engaging the community and gathering additional contributions to a site. Requires the Guest User plugin.
Contributor Contact Supplies administrators with tools to contact contributors in bulk. Complements the above Contribution plugin.
CSS Editor Add public CSS styles through the admin interface. Useful when you don't have access to the theme's CSS files and want to make some minor adjustments.
Geolocation Adds location info and maps to Omeka. Who doesn't love browsing a map as a way of discovering resources!
Getty Suggest Enable an autosuggest feature for Omeka elements using the Getty Collection controlled vocabularies. Could be quite useful for art and architectural items, as well as place names.
Guest User Adds a guest user role. Can't access the backend administrative interface, but allows plugins such as Contribution to use an authenticated user.
Hide Elements Hide admin-specified metadata elements. Great when you really don't need even the 15 Dublin Core elements and have, perhaps, volunteers performing data entry – makes it even simpler for them.
PDF Embed Embeds PDF documents into item and file pages. Very useful if you have these in your Omeka collection.
Simple Vocab A simple way to create controlled vocabularies, such as keywords or subjects, for consistent data entry. Works best with small-ish vocabularies.
Simple Vocab Plus A fuller featured option for controlled vocabularies with auto suggest.

Visit our Digital History Hub site for more information on Omeka and low-cost hosting plans, or contact us for help getting an Omeka site up, or for adding these or other plugins to an existing one.

And watch this blog for more in-depth posts about select plugins. Next up is a step-by-step guide to exporting data from an Inmagic DB/TextWorks database, then batch importing it into Omeka.

Tags: Omeka

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